Tory blogger Iain Dale raises a valid point here about the culture of the soundbite and its’ dire effect on politics, and I agree with him. Whenever I’ve done TV or radio, I get almost-puke nervous beforehand, and barely manage to stutter through my first remarks before I get calm and collect my thoughts. The problem is, in Ireland, nearly ever topic is raced through in ten minute segments, where you might get two pops before the “and we have to move on.”
When I was growing up, Brian Walden, a former Labour MP, used to present Weekend World at 12pm every Sunday, on ITV when ITV was a serious current affairs broadcaster. What was interesting about the show was that it focussed on the long, forensic interview, where a well briefed questioner (and Walden was very incisive) took a leading politician through 45 minutes or an hour of an interview. Jaysus, you may say. Do we really want to watch Enda for 45 minutes? Well, that’s the point: If a candidate can’t hold his own on policy detail for 45 minutes without turning into a guppyfish, how on Earth is he or she supposed to run the country? Could Enda do an hour with, say, John Bowman, on the FG manifesto? It would be worth finding out.
The format will get low ratings, that’s true. But it would be a serious programme for serious people, and if this is not the definition of serious public service broadcasting, then what on Earth are we paying a licence fee for? We might as well just run a repeat of “Pimp my naked sweet sixteen supernanny chef and get her out of here!” and cancel the licence fee altogether.